Of all of the mountains in Vermont, Mount Equinox is the one I cherish the most. My childhood home in Manchester was located at the base of the mountain, and I spent countless hours admiring Equinox’s dramatic height and beauty. I used to daydream that Equinox would become a ski area so I could race from the summit all the way down to our backyard in my Fischer skis. In retrospect, I’m eternally grateful that never happened.
Instead, Equinox has Skyline Drive, a 5.2-mile toll road that takes you to the 3,848-foot summit. Built in the 1940s, Skyline Drive is the longest, privately-owned paved road in the United States. On a recent trip to Manchester, we drove to the top of the mountain on a beautiful, sunny day. It has been 15 years since I drove to the top, and my husband Dave (from Massachusetts) had always wanted to take a ride up. It was well worth the trip.
What’s interesting about the mountain is that it’s owned by monks. Equinox Skyline Drive and about 7,000 acres are owned by the Carthusians, a Roman Catholic monastic order. Shortly before reaching the top, there’s a flat stretch of road where you can see the monastery to the southwest.
The views from Equinox, the tallest peak in the Taconic Mountain Range, are panoramic and stunning. Even though much of the summit parking lot is closed this season due to construction of a new visitor center, you can hike to Lookout Rock for a better view. It’s also worth stopping along some of the pull-off areas and flat stretches of road to take in the scenery.
Drive carefully and take lots of photos.
**If you go: Mount Equinox
Route 7A, south of Manchester